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Showing posts from February, 2006

Shays = Lieberman

The average Democrat voter – Joe Sixpack as he is sometimes called – may be excused for his confusion this year. On the one hand, he has been asked by First Selectwoman of Westport Dianne Farrell to rally to her cause because her opponent in the race for the U.S. Senate, Chris Shays, is a war hawk; on the other hand, Farrell herself has endorsed the candidacy of current U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is -- a war hawk.

"Joe is a longtime friend,” Farrell has said, “and he has endorsed me and my campaign in the past. We'll have to agree to disagree on the war . . . but we agree on so many other issues," women's privacy rights, the Family Leave Act and fair wages among them.

Lieberman has come under fierce criticism from party activists for adopting a position on the Iraq war that seems to them supportive of President George Bush’s Mid-East policies, and yet Farrell has accepted an endorsement from the leper, hoping to escape the leprosy. Can she embrace the Lieberman witho…

The Mahdi Cometh

What comes after a speedy withdrawal of troops from Iraq -- a measure favored by Cindy Sheehan and zanies on the left – is the whirlwind.

There are only three options:

1) Immediate withdrawal.
2) The Bush plan: the introduction into Iraq of democracy. The Bushies think that if democracy can be transplanted to Arabia and if the tender shoot takes – a big "if" – the plant may spread to Syria and Iran. Democracy, an invasive plant, is non-aggressive, or at least less aggressive than militant Islam.
3) The ostrich option: bury your head in the sands of Arabia, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Immediate withdrawal, al la Vietnam, leaves all our allies, overt and covert, perched on the roof, waving to the helicopters that will take them to the next safe haven. But the next haven will not be safe for long. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the democratically elected president of Iran, longs for the return of the Mahdi and thinks he sees his figure approaching in the smoke and ashes of Isra…

On Bagles and Tyrants

A few questions:

1) What are those things on Evo Morales’ head?

2) Will Fidel Castro ever die?

3) What’s up with democracy these days? Both Morales, the president of Bolivia, and Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, were democratically elected, as was President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who some rightists have compared to Adolph Hitler – who, by the way, also was democratically elected. Is this the sort of thing that President Bush, democratically elected twice, wants to spread about the world like dragon’s teeth?

Some short answers:

1) The decorative headpiece is made, in part, of bagels.

2) Like most tyrants, Castro probably will die in his bed of advanced old age. Some blame his longevity on the CIA, an organization that seems incapable of making a lethal exploding cigar.

3) Can’t answer that one. Part of it is stupidity. Part of it is traceable to the allure of socialism, a doctrine that holds that everything needful may be appropriated from the hated upper classes. That noti…

Happy Birthday Joe-A-Go-Go

The whole gang was there at the Carpenters Union Hall in Hartford's South End to wish Sen. Joe Lieberman a happy 64th birthday and to banish the ghost that for nearly a month had been haunting the Democrat Party. The ghost’s name is Ned Lamont, a Greenwich millionaire, anti-war enthusiast and possible primary opponent.

Weeks earlier, supposing some difference between the two Democrat senators on the Iraq war, the Hartford Courant began to arrange the “debate” shown on Fox News’ “Between the Lines.”

The differences between the two senators, as it turned out, were slight. Both agreed that the United States had entered the war on faulty premises, largely owing to bad intelligence and false assumptions. Weapons of mass destruction – what Aristotle might have called the proximate cause of the war – were nowhere to be found. Some have suggested that Iraqi chemical weapons had been shuttled off to Syria prior to the invasion. Others have suggested that Saddam Hussein was intent on deceivin…

Viva DeStefano

It gets "curiouser and curiouser," as Alice said in Wonderland. Mayor John DeStefano of New Haven, one of two Democrat gubernatorial hopefuls, is taunting Gov. Jodi Rell with “being more concerned about George Bush’s politics than about the needs of families in Connecticut.” How so?

Hugo Chavez, the duly elected president of Venezuela, has made DeStefano an offer he couldn’t refuse. Here’s the deal: Venezuelan oil companies controlled by Chavez will sell oil at a reduced price to an American distributor; the distributor – Citizens Energy, a corporation controlled by former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II of Boston, Massachusetts – will sell the oil at market prices, thus realizing a profit, the difference between the market and purchase price; the profit then will be shuttled to the poor in Connecticut through 12 private non-profit agencies that administer the state’s energy assistance program.

Perhaps smelling a political rat, Rell has referred the matter to Attorney General Rich…

The McCain Feingold, Shays Meehan, Rell Bush Connection: Or The Importance Of Mailing Lists

A report early in February from Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post’s political blogger, disclosed that Sen. John McCain, big media’s favorite moderate Republican, will be in Connecticut on March 17 to raise funds for Governor Jodi Rell’s campaign.

Just in time too. Some Democrats were beginning to wonder whether Rell, whose continually high approval rating has astonished both friend and foe, had become “a party of one.” She had successfully defied the expected Republican position on stem cell research and other hot button Republican issues, proving that there is a little McCain in all of us yearning to bust out. Cooption of the kind practiced by the usual Connecticut Republican moderate is intended to anesthetize the opposition.

Given Rell’s stratospheric approval rating, some Democrats are asking, does she need McCain to raise funds for her? Or is it possible that McCain, bitten with presidential aspirations, could use a boost from Rell?

Perhaps McCain’s March appearance may be mutuall…

Yes Virginia, There is a Democratic Party

The short answer to your question, Virginia, is: Yes, there is a Democratic Party here in Connecticut.

There are at least two, possibly as many as three or four in-state Democratic Parties. The Republican Party, as you may know, is little more than a Potemkin village governed by village idiots. As both political parties shed their substance and become more moderate, they assume a ghostly shape and become mere shadows of what they once were. It was not always so. Every so often, one finds a person who possesses what used to be called an institutional memory. Nowadays we call such people “party activists,” and they are especially energetic during primaries.

But wait … I see I shall have to explain what a primary is. I think you have a rudimentary notion of what a political party is: It’s a political organization centered in a body of ideas designed to elect people to office.

Primaries were supposed to wrest from party bosses decision making powers concerning what people shall occupy poli…

Rowland's Homecoming

Nothing, one expects, will ever be simple for ex-Governor John Rowland again. He came home from prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania to caterwauling and cat calling. Most of the current spitballs have been launched at him by folk who regularly rail against people for having fallen short of Christian precepts.

Here are some random shots taken from radio talk show host’s Colin McEnroe’s blog site, “To Wit.”

McEnroe himself, fresh from moderating a literary discussion at the Bushnell between Jan Weiner, Kurt Vonnegut and Joyce Carol Oates, led the charge by reproducing a letter written by Rowland interlined with McEnroe’s own comments in bold type.

“People from all over Connecticut have sent cards, letters and prayers over the past year,” Rowland wrote. “This outpouring has comforted me during this difficult time. Thanks for the skin magazines, Brad.”

In his distress, three people friendly with the ex-governor – his wife Patty, fellow radio talk show host Brad Davis and Will Marotti, pastor of th…

The Property Tax Pea Game

How quickly things change. Only a month ago, Democrat leaders in the state House and Senate seemed willing to go to the wall to defend a provision they had inserted into a Clean Contracting Bill favorable to unions. The provision required the state to perform cost benefit analyses before soliciting bids for private service contracts. Opponents of the provision insisted it would make private contracts more expensive and less desirable, but the provision was aggressively backed by state unions and their in-pocket legislators. Governor Rell vetoed the bill twice and vowed to veto it roughly forever if the offending provision was not removed.

Shortly after Rell had smuggled into her State of the State address a nifty and apparently popular idea, the elimination of property taxes on cars, leading Democrats in the House and Senate decided to jettison from the Clean Contracting Bill the provision that made Rell’s spine stiffen. According to both Rell and Democrat leaders in the House and Sena…

The State of Spending

“Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest the marrow of your bones run cold” – Mr. Fox, from A Book of English Fairy Tales

“Rell Calls For Boldness,” the headline screamed. As if anticipating the governor’s bold measures, an exuberant Jim Amann, the Democrat Speaker of the House, pre-announced a Democrat spending plan – That is what a budget is – that was, well … bold as bold can be.

Amann put his finger on what he considers to be the solution to one of the problems mentioned in several reports that had analyzed Connecticut’s anemic economy -- traffic problems. The Speaker proposed to spend an immodest $6.2 billion to fund road, rail, bus and highway improvements, especially along that nettlesome stretch of road – I 94, better known as the Fairfield County clot -- that runs from Bridgeport through the state’s “Gold Coast” and into New York.

In days of yore, Former Gov. William O’Neill rammed through the legislature a $6.5 billion plan following the collapse of the Mianus River Bridge in …

They're Only Cartoons

When some Danish editors decided to sponsor a contest among cartoonists to see which of them was courageous enough to publish under their own name in a local paper cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed, several cartoonists jumped at the chance and burned their fingers on Islamic hotspots all over the world. Earlier in Amsterdam, the artist Theo van Gogh, was murdered by a Muslim who took offense at a film he had made that, in the opinion of his knife wielding critic, was demeaning to Muslim women.

As we say in the United States, “What were they thinking?”

The most amusing response to the current backlash – which included the burning of Danish embassies and the radicalization of Islamic moderates – was a lead line in a news report in the United States that began, “What’s all the fuss about. It’s only a cartoon.” Probably the cartoonists were thinking their work would create a mild dustup lasting a few days, after which they would be celebrated among the brethren as stout defenders of f…

Playing Politics With Children’s Lives

Like the Civil War, President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act has set brother against brother. Not in several lifetimes would anyone have expected Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Scott Esdaile, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, to be peering at each other over the political barricades.

And yet, here we are. Blumenthal brought suit against U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings because the attorney general thought the Act imposed on Connecticut mandates that were not funded by the federal government. Governor Jodi Rell nodded consent to the suit, which also was backed by teachers, municipal governments and other custodians of the status quo.

The status quo in Connecticut’s cities should be unbearable for minorities, because the state’s urban centers are encrusted with schools that by any academic measure are spectacular failures. As it turns out, it is unbearable for the NAACP, an organization that views the No Child Left Behind Act as a useful in…